From Your Interim Minister
As of this writing I am nearing the end of my first month as your Interim Minister. I have met quite a few of you already, and will meet more of you in the Salisbury Gathering on Feb. 5. I am impressed by your friendliness and generosity. I detect no systemic dysfunction and hope I never do.
Originally, Interim Ministers—IMs—were used exclusively for post-trauma situations, such as the sudden death of the settled ministers, or some kind of ministerial misconduct, or warring factions. Nowadays, we IMs are almost routinely employed for a year or two between settled ministries even when there has been no trauma. We IMs now get to see a lot of different churches and fellowships in all conditions of health. Sometimes it’s rocky, sometimes smooth sailing most of the time, and sometimes it feels comparable to being a physician whose patients don’t know what ails them.
Well, as I said earlier, you’re not sick. But there are some problems that need to be faced more squarely. One is financial support for an enlarged staff, and another is the knitting together of our three gatherings into a pan-Piedmont cooperative venture. It feels like there is a bit of sleep-walking going on.
All of you who have visited one of the other sites, raise your hand. Good. All of you who have visited both of the other sites, raise the other hand. Hmm–not a lot. Well, friends, we need to draw closer together if this idea is to work. I would like to urge you to make the effort this spring to visit both of the other sites, even if you have visited them before. I ask this because it seems we don’t know each other very well, except at the leadership level.
Yes, the time and distance can be a bit discouraging, but I hope you will overcome it a couple of times in the next five months. Bring your partner or a child or a friend or two for company and head out. Road trip! If two or four of you from one Gathering go each week to another one, it won’t take long to feel much better connected. We need to develop a sense that we know these co-religionists of ours from our part of NC. It will give a better sense of being ‘one strong body,’ as our hymn proclaims.
This idea emerged most recently at Lake Norman’s January Board Meeting, and was met with happy stories and general approval. It will be something new, and fun, and should provide new energy and new friends, and it will increase the odds of making a covenant—a serious interpersonal agreement—that unites us. It is also the work of the future, as consolidation is a coming force in churches across the country. Let’s help lead. Let’s be pioneers.
— Rev. Lee Bond-Upson